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Occupy Philly protestors march through Center City

November 30, 2011 8:04:31 PM PST
Dozens of Occupy Philadelphia protestors marched through Center City on Wednesday evening, hours after being evicted from their encampment at City Hall.

The group started to move around 5:00 p.m. Chopper 6 HD was over the scene as the group made its way up 18th Street then headed east on Market Street.

The group then made a loop around City Hall, with a police car out in front of the crowd and bicycle cops escorting them on one side.

The protestors were blocking traffic on every street they marched on.

The eventually stopped in front of police headquarters, known as the Roundhouse.

The Occupy Philly protestors were evicted from Dilworth Plaza near City Hall early Wednesday morning, resulting in a number of arrests.

The Roundhouse is where those arrested are being held.

By 6:00, the protestors had started moving again to Franklin Square where they said they will continue to protest until their fellow demonstrators are released.

The protestors who were arrested are not expected to be released until sometime in the evening.

"We'll be here until every one of our friends and loved ones are released," said protestors Shon Batado. "It could be well into tomorrow. We're going to be here."

VIDEO: Raw video and Action News reports from the eviction of Occupy Philly

District Attorney Seth Williams said in a news release that the first arrest happened at 1:55 a.m. when 22-year-old Ryan Stroud was taken into custody at Dilworth Plaza after returning once police cleared that area.

Six people were arrested on the 1500 block of Market Street at 2:55 a.m. Another 45 people were arrested on the 1500 block of Hamilton Street around 6:30 a.m.

29-year-old Gregory Harris was arrested on the 100 block of North Broad Street and - along with the Conspiracy, Failure to disperse and Obstruction charges - was also charged with Assaulting a Police Officer at 4:07 am.

All of the protestors who were arrested were waiting to be arraigned by early Wednesday afternoon, Williams said.

Late Wednesday, the Mayor's spokesperson Mark McDonald says $651,000 is the most recent estimate the city has for cost incurred dealing with Occupy Philly as of November 23rd.

He says the number is expected to go up due to the events of this week, including the cleanup.

Police began pulling down tents at about 1:20 a.m. Wednesday after telling demonstrators they had to leave. A group of protesters who left Dilworth Plaza began roving through downtown.

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Their march came to an end at 15th and Hamilton streets where 45 protestors were arrested. Those taken into custody were placed into buses belonging to the sheriff's office.

"The police officers who were involved in this operation were hand-picked for this assignment," Mayor Michael Nutter said. "They're highly trained and disciplined and showed a tremendous amount of restraint and professionalism in carrying out this morning's operation."

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he would have preferred to evict the protesters without making arrests, but some refused orders to clear the street and had to be taken into custody.

"They weren't exacly orderly. They were very confrontational as they would stop and chant and engage with the police officers," Ramsey said.

There were a total of four injuries during the operations. Three police officers received minor injuries - two were injured while making arrests, while a third was hurt taking down a tent at Dilworth Plaza.

An Occupy Philadelphia protestor was hurt when a police horse stepped on her foot, Mayor Michael Nutter said.

The operation to remove Occupy Philadelphia protestors began around 1:00 a.m. when police closed off streets around City Hall.

Shortly after 1:00 a.m., Mayor Nutter said police issued three warnings to the protestors, telling them they had to clear out for the long-planned construction project for Dilworth Plaza.

After leaving the plaza, some protestors tried to go to a nearby park, but were turned away by police. They made their way back to City Hall at 16th and Market where barricades blocked their travel.

At one point, a few in the group tried to push through the barricades, but police stopped their efforts.

Unable to set up a new camp, some protestors began marching through the city streets. That lasted until 4:40 a.m. when, at 15th and Hamilton, police corned the marchers and told them to leave.

That is where scuffles broke out between some of the protestors and officers and the arrests were made.

Back at Dilworth Plaza Philadelphia police and city work crews tore down all the tents that became a part of City Hall's entrance for the past several weeks.

One female occupier continued her protest in a tree after most others left Dilworth Plaza. After rescue crews came with a ladder, she climbed back down herself.

A group of protestors remained across from Dilworth late into the night and continued chanting and watching police activity.

Through the night's proceedings, officials have been using the social network twitter to update the city's residents on the latest.

Managing Director Richard Negrin tweeted at 2:19 a.m., "Clean up crews heading to Dilworth. The clean up begins shortly" and shortly thereafter, the Plaza was being cleared with the use of trucks and dumpsters.

At 1:14 a.m., Philadelphia police tweeted, "Thanks Occupy Philly for their cooperation. We're here to protect constitutional rights and ensure public safety."

The City gave Occupy Philly a deadline of Sunday at 5:00 p.m. to vacate Dilworth Plaza. While many left, some stayed until they were forced out early Wednesday.

The City needed the rest of the protesters to leave so a long-planned renovation of Dilworth Plaza can begin. Mayor Nutter said the $50 million construction project is expected to last 27 months, putting some 800 to 1,000 people to work.

The protestors began their movement on October 6th.

On Monday a permit was issued to Occupy Philadelphia's "Reasonable Solutions" Committee. That permit allows a protest at Thomas Paine Plaza from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

It does not allow for tenting, structures, camping or sleeping overnight.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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